Tag Archives: CVW-5

Main Battery, Away

Check out this series of great images from LIFE photographer Bill Ray in 1964, chronicling Douglas A-1J Skyraiders from Attack Squadron 196 (VA-196) “Main Battery” aboard the Essex-class aircraft carrier USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) gearing up for a strike in Vietnam.

VA-196 was part of Carrier Air Wing 19 (CVW-19), tail code NM, aboard the “Bonnie Dick” for the carrier’s West Pac deployment to Vietnam from 28 January to 21 November 1964.

Commissioned in late 1944, Bonnie Dick was the first ship in the modern Navy to commemorate the name of John Paul Jones’ famous Revolutionary War frigate– and she got in enough licks in during WWII to earn one battlestar.

Her WWII cruise

She was much more active in Korea, carrying the F9F Panthers and AD-4 Skyraiders of first Carrier Air Group 102 (CVG-102) then CVG-7.

Stretched and given the SCB-125 overhaul in the mid-1950s, BHR was in the thick of the air war off Vietnam from 1964 onward.

USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) with her crew spelling out Hello San Diego, while en route to San Diego on 9 February 1963. She returned to San Diego, her home port, on 11 February, following a Western Pacific cruise that had begun seven months earlier, on 12 July 1962. Aircraft on her flight deck include three E-1, 11 F-8, six F-3, 13 A-4, and nine A-1 types. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command. Catalog #: NH 97343

Completing her sixth and last deployment to Yankee Station on 12 November 1970 (again with CVW-5), she was decommissioned the next year and, after spending 21 years on red lead row as a source for potential spare parts for the similarly laid-up but slightly younger USS Oriskany (which the Navy saw as a mobilization asset through the Reagan years), she was scrapped in 1992.

As for CVW19, it was disestablished in 1977, having conducted nine Vietnam tours from the decks of Essex-class flattops (BHR, Oriskany, Ticonderoga).

The end of VA-196 came on 21 March 1997, after more than 48 years of service, with the squadron switching to A-6 Intruders in 1966, an aircraft they put to good use not only over Indochina but also in the Persian Gulf, but that is another story. 

Climb Mount…Fuji

World War II in the Pacific began (unless you ask the Chinese or French) on 2 December 1941 with the famous “Niitakayama Nobore” (Climb Mount Niitaka) signal sent to Nagumo’s flagship to clear the way for Yamamoto Kido Butai force of a half-dozen aircraft carriers to turn towards Hawaii and attack Pearl Harbor on the morning of the 7th.

Interestingly, the U.S. military has, since the final days of WWII, instituted the common practice of posing warplanes over Mount Fujisan, just outside of Tokyo, which I always took as a bit of historic payback.

Corsairs Fringe Fuji. Painting, Wash and Scratch Board by Standish Backus 1945 NHHC 88-186-AC

Corsairs Fringe Fuji. Painting, Wash and Scratch Board by Standish Backus 1945 NHHC 88-186-AC

Grumman F9F-6 Cougar Jet Fighters Fly in formation over Mount Fuji, Japan, 12 December 1954. They are from USS YORKTOWN's (CVA-10), VF -153. Plane in foreground is BU 128209. 80-G-K- 17821

Grumman F9F-6 Cougar Jet Fighters Fly in formation over Mount Fuji, Japan, 12 December 1954. They are from USS YORKTOWN’s (CVA-10), VF -153. Plane in the foreground is BU 128209. 80-G-K- 17821

F9F Panthers over Mt. Fuji, c.1957

F9F Panthers over Mt. Fuji, c.1957

Formation of VA-22 A4C “Skyhawk” aircraft over Mt. Fuji, Japan, 27 April 1964. NHHC

Formation of VA-22 A4C “Skyhawk” aircraft over Mt. Fuji, Japan, 27 April 1964. NHHC

MOUNT FUJI, Japan (April 12, 2007) - Aircraft assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 perform a formation flight in front of Mount Fuji. CVW-5 is embarked aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63). Kitty Hawk operates from Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jarod Hodge

MOUNT FUJI, Japan (April 12, 2007) – Aircraft assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 perform a formation flight in front of Mount Fuji. CVW-5 is embarked aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63).U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jarod Hodge

Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267 AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom helicopters past Mount Fuji, Shizuoka, Japan, March 12, 2017. The squadron, currently supporting Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, validated the long-range capability of auxiliary fuel tanks on their H-1 platform helicopters by flying 314 nautical miles during one leg of the four-day mission, March 10. These aircrafts’ extended range is crucial to maintaining a stronger, more capable forward-deployed force in readiness in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. The squadron is based out of Camp Pendleton, California. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Andy Martinez)

Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267 AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom helicopters past Mount Fuji, Shizuoka, Japan, March 12, 2017. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Andy Martinez)

Bonnie Dick on the scene, 49 years ago today

In a special Warship Wednesday, here we see the (then) 25-year-old Essex-class aircraft carrier USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) underway in the Gulf of Tonkin on 13 June 1969 during her fifth cruise to support operations from Yankee Station off the Vietnam coast. Note the F-8J Crusaders, A-4E/F Skyhawks and distinctive Grumman E-1B Tracer AEW “Stoof with a Roof” aircraft of Carrier Air Wing 5 on deck.

Commissioned in late 1944, “Bonnie Dick” was the first ship in the modern Navy to commemorate the name of John Paul Jones’ famous Revolutionary War frigate– and she got in enough licks in during WWII to earn one battlestar.

Her WWII cruise

She was much more active in Korea, carrying the F9F Panthers and AD-4 Skyraiders of first Carrier Air Group 102 (CVG-102) then CVG-7.

Stretched and given the SCB-125 overhaul in the mid-1950s, BHR was in the thick of the air war off Vietnam from 1964 onward.

USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) with her crew spelling out Hello San Diego, while en route to San Diego on 9 February 1963. She returned to San Diego, her home port, on 11 February, following a Western Pacific cruise that had begun seven months earlier, on 12 July 1962. Aircraft on her flight deck include three E-1, 11 F-8, six F-3, 13 A-4 and nine A-1 types. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command. Catalog #: NH 97343

Completing her sixth and last deployment to Yankee Station on 12 November 1970 (again with CVW-5), she was decommissioned the next year and, after spending 21 years on red lead row as a source for potential spare parts for the similarly laid-up but slightly younger USS Oriskany (which the Navy saw as a mobilization asset through the Reagan years), she was scrapped in 1992.

However, her name lives on in LHD-6, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship of about the same size, commissioned in 1998.

USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) Underway in the Gulf of Mexico during builder’s sea trials, circa early 1998 NH 107664-KN

As for CVW-5, they have been flying as of late from USS Ronald Reagan and, when not aboard, cool their heels at Atsugi and Iwakuni, though the Crusaders, Skyhawks, and Tracers have long ago been traded for Hornets, Growlers, and Hawkeyes.